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Biochemistry. 2007 Sep 25;46(38):10767-75. Epub 2007 Aug 30.

Single-molecule structural dynamics of EF-G--ribosome interaction during translocation.

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Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6083, USA.


EF-G catalyzes translocation of mRNA and tRNAs within the ribosome during protein synthesis. Detection of structural states in the reaction sequence that are not highly populated can be facilitated by studying the process one molecule at a time. Here we present single-molecule studies of translocation showing that, for ribosomes engaged in poly(Phe) synthesis, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between the G' domain of EF-G and the N-terminal domain of ribosomal protein L11 occurs within two rapidly interconverting states, having FRET efficiencies of 0.3 and 0.6. The antibiotic fusidic acid increases the population of the 0.6 state, indicating that it traps the ribosome.EF-G complex in a preexisting conformation formed during translation. Only the 0.3 state is observed when poly(Phe) synthesis is prevented by omission of EF-Tu, or in studies on vacant ribosomes. These results suggest that the 0.6 state results from the conformational lability of unlocked ribosomes formed during translocation. An idling state, possibly pertinent to regulation of protein synthesis, is detected in some ribosomes in the poly(Phe) system.

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